Northwestern Events Calendar

May
26
2022

MFA Writers Panel: Resilience, Opportunity, and Equity in the New Era of Theatre, Film, & TV

When: Thursday, May 26, 2022
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Central

Where: Annie May Swift Hall, Auditorium, 1920 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Jonah Zeiger  

Group: SOC - Office of External Programs, Internships, & Career Services (EPICS)

Sponsor: MFA in Writing for the Screen + Stage

Category: Fine Arts, Multicultural & Diversity

Description:

All are invited to attend the culminating weekend of events for the MFA Writing for the Screen & Stage program presented in partnership with EPICS. This year's panel will highlight themes of resiliency, opportunity, and equity in the new era of theatre, film, and television. Featured industry panelists include Ken-Matt Martin, Artistic Director, Victory Gardens Theater; Grace Moss, VP of Equity & Inclusion, WarnerMedia; and MFA alum and film/TV writer and playwright,Sofya Levitsky-Weitz, (Dropout, Gaslit, Cannabis Passover).

The panel will be co-moderated by the Director and Associate Director of the MFA in Writing for the Screen & Stage program, Zayd Dohrn and Erin Courtney.

Panelist Bios:

Ken-Matt Martin is the Artistic Director of Victory Gardens Theater, and was born in Little Rock, AR. He began his life in the performing arts as a child actor after booking an appearance on Nickelodeon’s landmark series All That. He went on to be educated and receive theatrical training at Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Drake University (Musical Theater/Journalism), and Brown University/Trinity Rep where he received an MFA in Directing. Following a decade-long stint as a professional actor that included roles in plays and musicals at regional theaters and numerous commercials he transitioned to directing and producing full-time. His life in the theater led him to adopt the personal mission of using theater as a catalyst for social change. Ken-Matt, inspired by the Black Arts Movement, co-founded Pyramid Theatre Company in Des Moines, IA where he served as Executive Director until 2018. The company commits itself to the tenet of Sankofa, a word in the Akan language of Ghana meaning “return to retrieve” and is the only theater company committed to Black writers in the state of Iowa. Martin’s producing and directing credits in Des Moines have received thirty-four Cloris Leachman Excellence in Theatre Award nominations, including two awards for Best Play and a Special Honor for Martin in 2016 for his exemplary service to the Des Moines arts community. Pyramid also received the Bravo Greater Des Moines 2018 Standing Ovation award for excellence in artistic leadership during Martin’s tenure. Selected directing credits include productions of Civil Sex by Brian Freeman, Mississippi Goddamn by Jonathan Norton, Tripping Over Roots by Jaymes Jorsling, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Prowess by Ike Holter, Shakuntala, tick..tick..Boom and a film entitled The Last Supper, being released later this year. In 2018, Martin was named Producing Director of Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF). Martin was previously the Bill Foeller Directing Fellow at WTF where he directed A Son, Come Home by Ed Bullins and Brotherhood by Louis Reyes McWilliams. During his tenure at WTF as Producing Director he produced the world premiere productions of Grand Horizons, Selling Kabul, Before The Meeting, A Human Being of A Sort, Tell Me I’m Not Crazy, and revivals of Ghosts starring Uma Thurman and A Raisin in the Sun directed by Robert O’Hara. Martin also negotiated the Off-Broadway transfers of Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow, Seared and Selling Kabul. Additionally, he negotiated the Broadway transfers of The Sound Inside (2020 Tony Nomination) and Grand Horizons (2020 Tony Nomination). After leaving WTF in the fall of 2019, Martin was named the Associate Producer of Goodman Theatre. Since arriving at Goodman he co-created and curated the Future Labs new play development program and also created and produced Live @ 5 during the pandemic. Martin served three years on the Board of Directors of Employee and Family Resources of Iowa. He also previously served as a member of Drake University’s National Alumni Board. After moving to Chicago, he joined the board of Season of Concern. In addition to his volunteer work, he also serves as a consultant and anti-racism facilitator for New York City Center, Design Action, and Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

Grace Moss is the VP Equity & Inclusion (Pipeline Programs) for WarnerMedia. In this role, she helps oversee the enterprise’s efforts to expand the talent pool of underrepresented writers and directors and build additional pathways for diverse talent. Prior to WarnerMedia, Grace served as the Head of Talent Development & Inclusion for NBC Entertainment, where she spearheaded multiple programs that focused on discovering, cultivating and showcasing talented writers and directors of diverse backgrounds. Grace also managed nationwide outreach efforts and developed relationships with community partners, such as the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment and the Barcid Foundation. Before coming to NBC, Grace was a Development Executive at the Style Network, where she shepherded new series, from initial pitch to production. Prior to her stint at the Style Network, she worked as a freelance reality Producer and Director on a plethora of unscripted shows on a variety of networks, including MTV, VH1, TLC and NBC. Grace graduated from UCLA with a BA English and Minor in Asian American Studies. In her spare time, Grace enjoys playing tennis, wine tasting and baking with her son.

Sofya Levitsky-Weitz is a playwright and TV/film writer who splits her time between Brooklyn and Los Angeles. She has written for Hulu’s THE DROPOUT, FX’s THE BEAR, and GASLIT for Starz and has original projects currently in development. Her play this party sucks (on the 2019 Kilroy’s List) is optioned by Mark Gordon Pictures for the stage and film/TV rights and will be commercially produced on Broadway next year. Other plays include Cannabis Passover (PWC Playlabs, 2021-2 finalist for the O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference), be mean to me, Gehinnom, and Intuitive Men. She was a 2018-2019 Jerome Fellow and is a current Core Writer at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. She is a MacDowell Fellow and has been in residence at Barn Arts and TOFTE Lake. She was the recipient of the Penn State New Musical Initiative and her musical Nostalgia Night (composer: Matt McCollum) was produced in Winter 2022. She has worked on several movies with Michael Showalter including Fox Searchlight’s The Eyes of Tammy Faye. She got her MFA in Writing for the Screen & Stage from Northwestern University, where she serves on the Advisory Board, and is a member of EST/Youngblood. www.sofyalevitskyweitz.com 

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